Wicked Old Keyboards

December 5th 13:00
by why

You know, this article from Benj Edwards is called The 10 Worst PC Keyboards of All Time, but it only serves to make one miss the zany layouts - totally entrenched with silly symbols - from some of these qwerky, colorful machines. I love this PET keyboard, it just looks so incredibly complex. And the sphinx-like shape of the machine as a whole.

Oh, but do you ever remember seeing these keyboard overlays, riddled with key combos? Here’s the WordStar one:

Now, wouldn’t it be great to have a clunky old keyboard with the vim layout?

Hook up an old C64 and get out the scissors and paste. (PC World link spotted on Digital Tools, via vintagecomputing.com.)

Now begin the comments …



said on December 5th 14:40


said on December 5th 15:26

Seeing that commodore keyboard warms my heart. I could never stand the all in one row arrow keys though!

How was I supposed to do important things, like play games?


said on December 5th 20:38

Thanks for the cheat sheet! I’m trying to wean myself off of TextMate, Emacs and everything else, if only because vim is more available.

I like the first one. I wonder what those shaded square tile symbols mean.


said on December 5th 21:24

The PET was my first keyboard. Using shift would yield the symbols above the letters. They were designed such that they could be joined together to form basic lines and shapes. No lower case letters was a bummer though.

giles bowkett

said on December 6th 00:10

these things still exist in the world of film editing. I was looking at one the other day on a G5 at a production company. They put a jog shuttle wheel thing where the arrow keys normally go and all of the keys have big icons with a tiny letter in the corner if you look hard for it. every key is a different color.


said on December 6th 15:40

My goodness, that’s a Kaypro! Many happy youthful hours were spent playing the character-based version of Donkey Kong on one of those little beasts.


said on December 7th 11:55

more logic here: http://www.logickeyboard.com


said on December 14th 13:02

I’m glad to see you using my native New England tongue. Did you pick it up recently, or have you always had it? Mingya! It’s wicked pissa’.

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